is something we all want, yet it remains elusive, rare and mysterious.
Some people have intimate relationships, but most don’t. Lack of
relationship fulfillment is the norm. Many of us want to know how to
establish an intimate relationship—from single people who are wondering
why they are still single to those in relationships who want a
healthier, more nourishing connection with their partner. Throngs of
people are clamoring for direction.
intimacy? How does it happen? What is entailed?
Intimacy is the coming together of two separate selves in a
joint-effort creation: You and Me make Us.
happens in that space of co-creation where intimacy happens, something
invisible and magical, something sacred, spiritual in nature. A bridge
is built, upon which there is a steady stream of energy flowing back
and forth, an exchange of essences, where understanding and closeness
are achieved, where an indestructible bond develops. Us is sacred, one
of a kind, special and unique unto itself, just as You and Me are
special and unique. Us becomes an entity unto itself and a source of
vital nourishment. Intimacy, the product of co-creation, is a
life-sustaining force that feeds You and Me.
doesn’t just happen. It’s not random. It doesn’t occur in a vacuum.
Intimacy is a creative process, an art. Like acting or painting, it
takes years of honing your craft before you master it. Anyone can do
it, but very few do, and fewer achieve mastery. It requires
self-awareness, self-reliance, trust in the process, strong motivation,
communication skills and steady practice.
It doesn’t matter
who you are, intimacy is a monumental challenge. Intimacy entails
(emotional) vulnerability, and most people have quite a bit of
difficulty being vulnerable in a relationship and often enter into the
sacred space in a state of defense. Painful experiences from past and
current relationships make most people want to protect themselves at
all costs. Learning how to navigate the treacherous terrain of
relationships, where experience and ability are relative from person to
person, where few have the understanding and skills that make intimacy
possible, takes time and experience, and self-growth.
lies in the fact that regardless of your experience in relationships;
doing some intensive self-work combined with relationship training may
be all you need to make qualitative changes in all of your
begins with rapport.
occurs when two people are entranced in conversation. They are
listening and responding to each other spontaneously, without
self-monitoring or anticipating what is going to happen next or worried
about making a good impression. They are in a zone, in that sacred
space, immersed in a naturally unfolding process, untainted by the wish
for a desired outcome. Both people are highly interested in the process
-- “unconditionally interested” in the process -- eager to engage, get
to know each other and discover what they can create together. They
live for realness, intensity, openness and truth, and are not likely to
shy away from negative feelings, conflicts or differences. When you
watch a couple in rapport, it is as if they are dancing—their postures,
gestures and expressions mirror each other and they give a sense of
Before intimacy there is rapport. Where
there is rapport, there is a connection. The question is often asked,
“Is rapport the same as when there is chemistry between two people?” We
are referring to the ability to interact in a way in which there is
attunement on both verbal and non-verbal levels. When describing her
experience when meeting someone for the first time a client
“Something was going on. Can’t quite put my finger on it. We were just
able to understand each other in a very deep way.” That’s rapport.
when combined with unconditional interest, heightens rapport.
the while there is the sense that something deep and profound is
happening. Understanding is achieved, and like
I’ve heard it said and I concur, “Rapport
is everything.” Nothing is more telling about the future of a
relationship than the quality of rapport two people who don’t know each
other can generate. Most people put physical attraction, great sex,
common interests and a whole slew of other faulty criteria at the top
of their list of what is most important when deciding whether or not to
pursue a relationship.
sacred space with a ‘clean slate.’
can you become more skilled at rapport? Cultivate the proper
state of mind. Expanding on the concept of “unconditional interest,”
the ideal state of mind can be likened to a ‘clean slate’,
characterized by openness and being fully present in the moment, where
there is no past or future, only the here and now. An important aspect
of the ideal state of mind is the ability to take attention off of
yourself and put it on the other person. Any time two people are
together a whole new play is about to unfold. A ‘clean slate’ will
dramatically reduce the extent to which preconceived notions,
inaccurate interpretations, and emotional baggage from previous and/or
current relationships taint what would otherwise be pure and organic
important relationship is with yourself.
you want to enter the sacred space of co-creation where You and Me
become Us, it’s necessary to have a self to bring. Having a self is
what makes rapport building, “unconditional interest” and a “clean
slate” possible. At the bare minimum, self-awareness in involved. You
must have relationship with yourself. You (and Me) will not need
someone else to validate your existence or worth. You’re entering the
space as a full and whole entity unto yourself. You will not expect or
depend on another to feel good about yourself and you won’t measure
yourself against how he or she responds to you. Your behavior is
internally based and purpose driven.
Self- awareness makes it
possible to accurately represent yourself. If you are out of touch with
what you’re thinking and feeling, you will not be seen, known or
understood. Self-awareness extends to intuitive alertness as well,
which enables you to pick up on non-verbal communication (attitude,
tone of voice, body language, eye contact, demeanor) and danger
signals. How else will you be able to take care of yourself and/or
exercise healthy self-interest in any relationship?
is intimacy, there is understanding.
may be defined as when one’s experience registers with the other.
Understanding is a basic human need and therefore provides vital
nourishment to You and Me. It can also relieve pain sourced from
relationships in which isolation, disconnection and the lack of
intimacy and love have prevailed.
Most people can look
on their lives and relationships and can remember feeling, thinking or
saying at one time or another, “All I want is to be
and Me will not be able to create an Us characterized by intimacy and
understanding. Again, without self-awareness, achieving understanding
when neither person has the necessary self-awareness becomes a
mountainous task. How can you get to know me if I can’t accurately
represent myself? How can I get to know you if you can’t accurately
represent yourself? How can I be intimate with you if I’m not intimate
continues next column